UPDATE: Tropical Storm Isaac on move; Fla. may be in track
MIAMI (AP) — Forecasters say Tropical Storm Isaac continues to move west toward the Caribbean on a track that could possibly take it toward Florida, where the Republican National Convention is to be held next week.
The National Hurricane Center said Isaac had top sustained winds near 40 mph (64 kph) at 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday and was expected to strengthen. It was 390 miles (628 kilometers) east of Guadeloupe and heading west near 18 mph (29 kph).
Puerto Rico, Vieques and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been placed under a hurricane watch.
Tropical storm warnings were also issued Tuesday for a swath of islands across the Caribbean including Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Culebra and the British Virgin Islands.
It's too soon to gauge the storm's exact path. Some computer models forecast Isaac to head toward Cuba and then Florida, while others suggest a sharp northern turn in coming days near Puerto Rico before entering the open Atlantic.
MISSOURI SENATE-RAPE COMMENTS
Akin vows to stay in race, says GOP response to rape comments 'overreaction'
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rep. Todd Akin has reiterated his intention to stay in the Missouri Senate race after making comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."
Akin told former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on a Tuesday radio show that he was staying in because there were people who feel they aren't represented by the major political parties.
He also reaffirmed his stand as an anti-abortion lawmaker.
Akin has been frantically trying to salvage his once-promising bid against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in a race long targeted by the GOP as crucial to regaining control of the Senate.
He's facing growing calls from within his party to leave the race -- and he's also facing the apparent loss of millions of dollars in campaign advertising money. But he told Huckabee that his fellow Republicans are overreacting to his comments. He said he hasn't done anything morally or ethically wrong, but got a "word in the wrong place."
GOP CONVENTION PLATFORM
AP source: GOP platform draft at odds with Romney
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republicans meeting in Tampa, Fla., are adopting a party platform calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion without specific exceptions for rape or incest, a position at odds with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The Republican National Committee's platform committee approved the plank, the same as it adopted in 2008, as GOP officials, including leading social conservatives, called on congressman Todd Akin to quit his Senate bid in Missouri after saying that a woman's body is able to prevent pregnancy in what he called "a legitimate rape."
A member of the platform committee confirms to The Associated Press that the plank has been adopted, but the official requested not to be identified because the committee is still meeting.
Romney opposes abortion but supports exceptions in cases of rape.
NEW: Armed Wash. man arrested in alleged Obama threat
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a Washington state man after he allegedly made emailed threats against President Barack Obama.
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary identified the man as 31-year-old Anton Caluori. He was arrested Tuesday afternoon in suburban Federal Way for investigation of making threats against the president and assault on a federal officer.
Federal Way police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock says a Secret Service agent and a Federal Way officer went to an apartment after the FBI alerted the Secret Service to the threats.
Schrock says they found a man who pointed a shotgun at them, and officers disarmed and arrested him. She says no explosives were found in the area.
Caluori is scheduled to appear Wednesday in federal court in Seattle.
FEDERAL PAY FREEZE
NEW: Obama extends federal pay freeze
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is extending a two-year pay freeze for federal employees until at least next spring.
The freeze will stay in effect until a spending plan is passed, but the presidential campaign makes it unlikely that will happen before the start of fiscal 2013 on Oct. 1.
Obama has proposed an across-the-board half-percent pay raise, but Congress would have to enact the pay-raise proposal.
Congress reached a short-term deal before its August recess to fund the government for six months. The administration estimates the two-year pay freeze will save more than $60 billion.
J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, called the decision to extend the two-year federal pay freeze "absolutely unwarranted and unjustified."
ALASKA-VOTING RIGHTS LAWSUIT
Alaska sues over federal voting rights law
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska is suing to block enforcement of provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Alaska is among the states required to submit redistricting plans or proposed election changes to the U.S. Justice Department for review to ensure the plans aren't discriminatory.
The state's lawsuit Tuesday claims there's no evidence that Alaska should be considered among the states "where voting discrimination has been most flagrant."
The lawsuit says no evidence was presented to Congress in 2006, when the law was reauthorized, that shows Alaska had any such violations.
The state argues two sections of the law are unconstitutional. It asks a judge to bar its enforcement or at least in the state of Alaska.
The lawsuit names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as the defendant.
Biden: Wall St. reform critics 'squealing pigs'
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is defending the Obama administration's efforts to reform Wall Street — and comparing Republican critics of the law to "squealing pigs."
Biden told a raucous crowd in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday that Congress had passed a law reining in Wall Street despite objections from presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans.
Biden described the objections of Republicans as sounding like "squealing pigs" and called the changes "some of the toughest Wall Street regulations in history."
Biden caused a stir last week when he said Romney and other Republicans would put Americans "back in chains" in order to unshackle Wall Street.
Chicago man accused of prompting JetBlue landing
DENVER (AP) — A Chicago man is accused of groping a pregnant woman and refusing to follow crew instructions on a JetBlue flight, prompting the plane to make an emergency landing in Denver.
Marcus Covington was advised in federal court Tuesday that he faces a charge of interfering with the duties of a flight crew and flight attendant.
Authorities allege the 32-year-old was intoxicated and groped the pregnant woman as he waited for the bathroom while on the Los Angeles-bound flight from New York late Sunday.
Federal prosecutors say Covington refused a flight attendant's request to stay seated, prompting the crew to ask an FBI agent on the plane to intervene. Covington sat between the agent and another passenger until the plane landed.
Covington was appointed a public defender, who declined to comment.
Authorities amend Natalie Wood's death certificate
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities have changed Natalie Wood's death certificate to reflect some of the lingering questions surrounding the actress' drowning 30 years ago.
An amended copy of the actress' death certificate was entered earlier this month and changes her death from being classified as accidental to undetermined.
The amended document also notes that how Wood got into the water was never "clearly established."
Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee, drowned in the waters off Catalina Island in November 1981. Sheriff's investigators renewed their investigation last year shortly before the 30th anniversary of her death.
The sheriff's department says the case remains open and that the coroner's office made the ultimate decision to amend the death certificate. Detectives have instructed coroner's officials to not discuss the case.
BODY WITH CATS
Woman found dead in Ariz. home with dozen of cats
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — A woman has been found dead in her suburban Phoenix home, where she lived with about dozens of cats.
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies were forced to wear breathing equipment to enter the residence in Mesa, Ariz., early Tuesday. They had been called to check on the 64-year-old woman, whose name wasn't immediately released.
It's unclear how long the woman had been dead, but authorities say she apparently died of natural causes.
Sheriff's officials say it appears the woman was a hoarder and the home was in poor condition.
The sheriff's office and the Humane Society are trying to rescue as many cats as possible and decide where to keep them.Tags: